In my last blog, I wondered how I could possibly line up 14 spindles under tension and force them down into their corresponding seat holes. I posted the question to the forum and Rum came up with the following solution.
Build an alignment jig that fits just below the final crest. Drill down from the top of the top crest prototype into another piece of wood. This ensures that the compound angle holes continued in perfect alignment from one piece to the other. Cut the lower piece in half right down the holes. Shim the resulting kerf with playing card shims folded into four layers. Reassemble the new piece with 5 screws. Redrill the spindle holes since the jig probably didn’t mate perfectly. The alignment jig is ready for use.
The entire back is dry assembled through the alignment jig one spindle at a time. The spindles are popping through in perfect alignment to receive the actual top crest.
Here the top crest is postioned on top of the exposed spindles. Push down on the top crest to insert 14 spindles simultaneously into the top crest. This worked so well that I didn’t even need to use the dead-blow mallet!
The top crest is in position. The alignment jig is unscrewed to remove it from the assembly.
Rum’s alignment jig will remove the drama from assembling the upper half of the rocking chair. I could assemble it by myself now, but will ask my wife to help with handing the spindles to me in sequence and gluing the wedges. It seems that the easiest strategy during glue-up will be to use liquid hide glue and insert it in the spindle holes. That will allow me to keep a fast pace. That’s really the only option for the top crest since the spindles are inserted simultaneously.
-- Mark, Minnesota